Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathering is an Important Job

By Don Alexander, evangelist for the Pollock Pines-Camino, California, church of Christ

Good fathers who love God not only "father" children but nurture, guide and correct them so that they obey the father and mother and love the Heavenly Father. That is the central message of Ephesians 6:4:

You fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of God.
By this example of godly living coupled with direct instruction, a father moves his children from earth to heaven. He must not only lift them up on his shoulders in play, he must also lift up their hearts to the Heavenly Father in prayer. He must teach them about the Father of us all and not relegate this role to his wife alone. He is to take the lead in seeing that his family attends the assemblies and classes of the saints, but also that they pray, study their Bibles and serve others. Their faith will be based on their learning from the Heavenly Father's revealed Word, the Bible.

He is the first taste his children have of structure, authority and consistent love. He may feel that his wife knows more about kids than he does, and she may. But he must know their hearts, structure their lives until they have learned to do this themselves, provide them opportunities to have chores and work, and teach them values that will build character and serve as an anchor in turbulent times.

His hand can be tender in its firmness, but must always be honest in its movements. His Heavenly Father must guide him through the precepts of the Bible in conducting family life through his leadership. Done well, fathering casts a long shadow for generations. Done poorly, it does the same thing. It takes far more than the ability to "make babies" to be a father.

Fathers, take up your honorable position and lead your families in the ways of the Heavenly Father. Your wife should work with you and your family should commend you and encourage you in the role. Your children need you more than your boss does. The church needs you; society needs you. Heaven awaits your decision and your action. And somewhere down the road of time, some child's life, in generations yet to be born, will be affected by your life.

May God bless you in the most important domestic and social role on earth with the most potential for good--being a good, Christian father.

I originally published Don's article last Father's Day. Don revised his article for 2006.

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